A Balanced View: How Do You View Money?

“Money makes the world go round”, has some ring of truth to it.

A financial editor once wrote: “The role of money in society is incredibly important. If money was removed as a means of exchange, we would be in a state of panic and war within a month.” The saying “Money makes the world go round”, has some ring of truth to it. 

After all, it takes money to buy food, clothing, and pay for rent or buy a home.

As indispensable as money is, it has its limitations. A Norwegian poet Arne Garborg said that with money “you can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge, but not wisdom; glitter, but not beauty; splendor, but not warmth; fun, but not joy; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness.”

When we maintain a balanced view of money—regarding it as a means to an end rather than an end in itself—it is possible to be contented. The Bible warns that “the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have . . . stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Timothy 6:10.
 It is important to note that it is the love of money—not money itself—that is injurious. An unhealthy focus on money can create a wall between friends and between family members.

Keep Money in Its Place
Money can be likened to the oil that greases engines to make them work optimally. It is needed to run a business successfully. One always hopes that a business will bring in enough income to sustain one’s family.

Be that as it may, goals with regard to money can easily get distorted and greed may set in. For many people, nothing else is important where money is involved. For those who view money in this manner, it is worthwhile to take into account what Agur, one writer of the Book of Proverbs, said in Proverbs 30:8: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, let me devour the food prescribed for me.” His balanced viewpoint regarding money is an inspiration for us today. He realized the value and contentment that come with being satisfied with a sufficient amount of sustenance.

Greed can cause one to forget this principle when a “golden opportunity” to make money arises. Let us not forget it is a wise thing to have enough income for the sustenance of one’s family and save enough for the future, but as we go about fulfilling our daily needs, let us be mindful of scriptural injunctions and not gather wealth at the expense of others. Everything we do should reflect God’s glory in our lives. (Ephesians 4:28; Proverbs 20:21; 31: 17-19, 24; 2Thessalonians 3: 8-12)

Getting money is a snare for countless men. Jesus illustrated this with a rich man who had a good income yet was bent on tearing down his store houses in order to build bigger ones to gather all his grain and good things. Jesus knew the danger of the snare of money too well and left no doubt as to the danger: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness or greed.” (Luke 12: 15-21). Whether you are rich or not, heed that counsel.

How might a Christian be ensnared by greed? Things that money can buy and greed for more money often come in disguise. A scheme to get rich quickly may be presented—often as a once-in-a-lifetime chance for financial security and freedom through a risky investment. One may even be tempted to make money by questionable or illegal business practices. The strong desire to be financially secure may become overpowering and ensnaring (Psalm 62:10; Proverbs 11: 1; 20:10) Greed for money has led some into gambling through raffles, sweepstakes, or lotteries. In the long run, those who are ensnared by these practices get addicted to them, and to get rid of these harmful practices becomes a Herculean task.

Often, people ignore empathy and reasonableness when dealing with their fellow men with regard to money. Some even go as far as hastily starting lawsuits in hopes of receiving a large award or settlement for injuries feigned.

A distorted view of money can cause people to become judgmental. For example, a wealthy person might assume that those who are poor are too lazy to better themselves. Or a person with lesser means might hastily conclude that those who have more are materialistic or greedy.
“The poor man is hated even by his neighbors, but many are the friends of the rich person.”—Proverbs 14:20.
As that verse from the Bible indicates, our view of money can affect how we treat people. For example, we might tend to despise those who have little means and who can do nothing for us. On the other hand, we might curry favour with those who are rich, ingratiating ourselves with them in an effort to gain their favour—and perhaps some type of monetary reward.
The Bible expresses disapproval of people who show favouritism, whether by despising the lowly or by “flattering others for their own benefit.” (Jude 16; Isaiah 10:1, 2) Make it your goal to view and treat people equally.
Money is not evil, nor is it wrong to engage in honest business. (Ecclesiastes 7:12; Luke 19:12, 13). However, nurturing a “love of money will distance us from God. (1Timothy 6: 9, 10). The extreme concern about obtaining the necessities of life can choke our spirituality. So also can “the deceptive power of riches,” the wrong belief that money brings happiness and security (Matthew 13:22). Jesus made it clear that no one can successfully serve both God and riches. (Matthew 6:24)

What the Bible Says
The Bible neither condemns money nor criticizes those who have it—even a lot of it. The point is not the amount a person has but his attitude toward what he has or wants to acquire. The Bible’s counsel regarding money is balanced, and it is as relevant today as when it was written. Note the following examples.
THE BIBLE SAYS: “Do not wear yourself out to gain wealth.”—Proverbs 23:4.
According to The Narcissism Epidemic, people who pursue wealth are likely to “suffer from poor mental health; they also report more physical health problems such as sore throats, backaches, and headaches and are more likely to drink too much alcohol and use illegal drugs.
THE BIBLE SAYS: “Let your way of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things.”—Hebrews 13:5.
A person who is content is not immune to financial anxiety; however, he knows how to put his anxiety in perspective. For example, a content person will not overreact to financial loss. Rather, he will strive to have the attitude of the apostle Paul, who wrote: “I know how to be low on provisions and how to have an abundance. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned the secret of both how to be full and how to hunger, both how to have an abundance and how to do without.” —Philippians 4:12.
THE BIBLE SAYS: “The one trusting in his riches will fall.”—Proverbs 11:28.
Researchers cite money problems as a common factor in marital strife resulting in divorce. Money problems have also been a factor in suicide. For some people, money is more important than their marriage vows or even their life! In contrast, those who have a balanced view do not put their trust in money. Instead, they recognize the wisdom of Jesus’ words: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15.

How Do You View Money?
A self-examination might help you to acquire a balanced view of money. For example, ask yourself the following questions.

    Am I attracted to get-rich-quick schemes?
    Do I find it difficult to be generous with my money?
    Do I tend to make friends with people who constantly talk about money and the things they own?
    Do I resort to lying or to other unethical practices in order to make money?
    Does money make me feel important?
    Am I always thinking about money?
    Is my attitude toward money adversely affecting my health and family life?

    Cultivate generosity by giving to others
If you answered yes to any of those questions, make an effort to reject materialistic thoughts and temptations. Avoid friendships with people who attach too much importance to money and possessions. Instead, seek association with people who place greater value on high moral principles than on possessions.

Never allow the love of money to take root in your heart. Rather, keep money in its place—always subordinate to friends, family, and your emotional and physical health. By doing so, you will show that you have a balanced view of money.

Wisdom from the Scriptures
The Bible acknowledges . . .
 “Money is a protection.”—ECCLESIASTES 7:12.

However, the Bible warns . . .
 “The one hastening to get rich will not remain innocent.”—PROVERBS 28:20.
 “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires.”—1 TIMOTHY 6:9.

Therefore, the Bible recommends . . .
 “Let your way of life be free of the love of money.”—HEBREWS 13:5.

 “Guard against every sort of greed, because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—LUKE 12:15.

“Do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others.”—HEBREWS 13:16.

What are the benefits?
“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—ACTS 20:35.
“The generous person will prosper, and whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”—PROVERBS 11:25.

Cited: Awake!  (2009)

Olaide Ekunsumi

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Arinola O. Yinka

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